December 4, 1991. Clipper Goodwill, an obsolete Boeing 727-200 under the command of Captain Mark Pyle, reached cruising altitude for Pan Am’s last ever scheduled flight operation. Its final destination: Miami, Florida, where roughly 7500 employees were simultaneously packing up their cubicles. Pan Am, once the world’s most luxurious and innovative travel empire, joined competitors Eastern and Midway in filing for bankruptcy that year.
Pan Am’s ultimate demise is an example of history on repeat — one day, an airline is flying high. The next, execs scramble to maintain stability amid unprecedented terrorist attacks, resource wars in the Middle East, surging fuel costs, economic downturns, changing consumer preferences, and the ever-persistent threat of the new kids on the block.
Today’s airlines have navigated eerily similar headwinds. But no bean counter could’ve ever predicted that the fallout from COVID-19 would ground nearly all commercial flights in April 2020, resulting in mergers or liquidation of 30 airlines around the world. The surviving carriers have burned through cash reserves, furloughed staffers, and literally parked aircraft inventory on unused runways, in storage facilities and in the desert night to stay aloft.
The good news: travel industry brains predict a return to “normal” by 2024 for operators positioned to withstand the heavy turbulence — and the uptick in Memorial Day travel seems to indicate that the dog days of quarantine (in the US, at least) are nearly over.
So, for those of you who are vaxxed, waxed, and ready to jet set, we’ve curated some fine globetrotting content to get you through your next red-eye. Fasten your seat belts, stow away your smokes, peep the in-flight safety manual (it’s been awhile), and get those seat backs and tray tables in their upright, locked position.
P.S.: United Airlines voluntarily created the first non-smoking ticket in 1971. Despite vehement lobbying efforts by big tobacco and airlines alike, smoking regulations passed in 1987, banning smokables on domestic flights less than two hours in 1988, less than six hours in 1990, and on all domestic and international flights in 2000.
Rollin’ On the Tarmac / TWA Hotel Opens Skate Rink at JFK Airport
Car-ma Chameleon / Boy George Crashes Your Road Trip This June via Waze
Hoverboard Included / AirBnb Takes You Back to the ‘80s in Dallas
The Legend of Tarzan Bottoms / Swimsuit Trend Swings Back in Full Force
The Pinterest of Travel Guides / Travis is the TripTik of the Future
A New Kind of Airplane Bottle / Add Function & Style to the Dopp Kit
TikTok’s Road to Nowhere / Binge these FOMO-inducing Travel TikToks
#VanLife or #VanWeekend? / sCAMPer Van Brings Caravan Rentals to ATL and AVL
Bora Bora, Here They Come / Influencer Trips Prepare For Takeoff in 2021
Lengthy layover? Lonely night in a strange hotel? Don’t crash early. Crush some waves in Tahiti, wander the starlit streets of Vienna, and road trip to the mysterious Boca del Cielo with this gotta-see watchlist — no passport required.
The Endless Summer / Bruce Brown, 1965 (NR)
Mike Hynson and Robert August travel the world in search of the “Perfect Wave” — a “surf-ari”, if you will. Whether you’re the type to hang ten or hang on the beach and spectate, this flick’s tubular imagery (coupled with Brown’s superb narration) will surely hit you like a bomb.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert / Stephan Elliott, 1994 (R)
Two drag queens and a trans woman journey across Australia in a bus, aptly named “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”. Full of Jollygoodfellow laughs, charming cabaret, and endless entertainment - this film is so sweet you’ll be dropping a down payment on a Priscilla of your own soon.
Before Sunrise / Richard Linklater, 1995 (R)
This critically-obsessed film — the first of the Before trilogy — scored a 100% on the Tomatometer, but that’s not the only reason to consume this love story over and over again. The film evokes feelings of youthful wanderlust that’ll leave you kicking your past self for not taking that chance on the one that got away.
The Beach / Danny Boyle, 2000 (R)
A babyfaced Leo backpacks through Thailand, eventually finding himself on a mysterious island (which happens to be full of weed and dangerous weed farmers). Cue guns, sharks, more guns, more sharks, and a helluva lot of gorgeous scenery — so much so that Thai officials were forced to shut down Maya Bay due to an infestation of tourists following the film’s release.
Y Tu Mamá También / Alfonso Cuarón, 2001 (R)
Summer lust. Raging hormones. Teenage angst. Steamy love triangles. Jealousy. Very awkward mornings. Co-written with his brother, Carlos, and improvised extensively by the cast, there are life lessons aplenty to glean from Cuarón’s minimalist script.
Curated by: The Fast Times Staff
“Doin’ Time” by Sublime
Composer George Gershwin captured a vibe with his 1934 aria “Summertime”, which has since been remade some 25 thousand times by artists ranging from Louis Armstrong to Willie Nelson, and most recently, Lana Del Ray.
Sublime’s 1997 revamp, “Doin’ Time”, just so happens to be one of the more interesting variations of the classic. Sublime recorded the track with heavy sampling from Herbie Mann’s jazzy cover — the two bops sound nearly identical — but with a fresh take on the lyrics: “Doin’ time and the livin’s easy”. However, in order to release the track, the suits demanded that Sublime re-record the lyrics, replacing “Doin’ time” with the OG line “Summertime”.
Easy enough, right? Wrong. Lead singer Bradley Nowell OD’ed on heroin shortly before this mandate. In a pinch, producer Michael Happholdt hopped on the mic and voiced the opening “Summertime” bit. Most fans were none-the-wiser.
Need more “Summertime”? We got you.